17 September 2019

2 Peter 3:8–15, 2 Corinthians 5:16–21

Being human is not particularly easy. Our ability to think abstractly is a great gift. It is also a curse. With the ability to think abstractly, we also have gained a “higher” form of thinking…morality. From the Old Testament to Greek and Roman philosophers to the New Testament to today, morality is a reality. Many times political rhetoric is framed within a moral argument. Some times business and legal arguments are framed in moral terms. There appears to be an unconscious acknowledgment (for those who don’t consciously acknowledge it) that morals are a sure underpinning of existence.

Peter is not addressing the philosophical end of things, but the day-to-day practical. Morality underlies your very existence. When Peter uses the imagery of the Day of God as a thief in the night, it isn’t that of a criminal, but that of one who will not be announced. If your morality is aligned with God, all is well. Granted, Peter didn’t assume we all lived Godly morality at all times, for if that were the case, he wouldn’t have provided such a warning. In the warning, there is still hope for all those who do not live out the Christian life perfectly (i.e., everyone), “…make every effort…” How is that hopeful? Simple. The effort is the evidence of a heart turned toward God.

This would be in contrast to those who live one way on Sunday, and another way the other 6 days of the week (especially, the “work” week). A number of years ago, there was a huge energy company. The board of this energy company would vote to suspend its bylaws and/or code of ethics, vote for something that violated it, then vote to resume the code of ethics. They called themselves ethical. They never “violated” their code of ethics, because they were “suspended” during the unethical votes. That is a small (disgusting and sad) example of not making every effort.

The underlying reality of morality also directly affects the calling on our lives to be ambassadors for Christ. “Be reconciled to God.” If our morality is suspect, then how could our reconciliation be trusted. One of the first things a negotiator (especially true with police negotiators) is to build rapport with the other person. Then, and only then, do they begin to build trust. If one’s morality is in question, trust is hard (if not impossible) to build. If we, as Ambassadors, are seen as immoral (or amoral), then why would they trust us when we speak the grace of the Gospel?

Make every effort to be reconciled to God, for then you are able to help others be reconciled to God.

1) Morality and integrity are often used interchangeably. What is the difference? Why does it matter?

2) Why is understanding the difference between human morality and God’s morality important? Why is understanding the difference between church morality and God’s morality important?

3) When do you not make every effort to live life for God?